The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes (2006)



Critic Consensus: Though visually stunning and brilliantly original, the film fails to resonate emotionally.

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Movie Info

The Brothers Quay return for their first film in a decade with this live-action story of an 19th-century opera singer who is murdered on-stage shortly before her upcoming wedding. Soon after being slain by the nefarious Dr. Emmanuel Droz (Gottfried John) during a live performance, Malvina van Stille (Amira Casar) is spirited away to the inventor's remote villa to be reanimated and forced to play the lead in a grim production staged to recreate her abduction. As the time for the performance draws near, piano tuner of earthquakes Felisberto (Cesar Sarachu) sets out to activate the seven essential automatons who dot the dreaded doctor's landscape and make sure all the essential elements are in place. Once again instilled with life after her brief stay in the afterworld, amnesiac Malvina is soon drawn to the mysterious Felisberto as a result of his uncanny resemblance to her one-time fiancÚ Adolfo (also Sarachu). ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Timothy Quay, Stephen Quay, Alan Passes
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 24, 2007
Zeitgeist Films - Official Site

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Terry Gilliam
as Dr. Emmanuel Droz
Amira Casar
as Malvina
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News & Interviews for The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes

Critic Reviews for The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (18)

What the movie lacks in acting and coherence, it more than makes up for through imagery.

Full Review… | March 2, 2007
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

It's a hauntingly effective, poetic mood piece but an exasperating drama.

January 19, 2007
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

It is a bold step into a mainstream realm for its ancient fablelike theme, agile storytelling, magnificent design and sure grasp of long-form narrative structure.

Full Review… | January 12, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

This opaque tale offers meticulously crafted atmosphere, but rather less passion or drama.

Full Review… | January 5, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

As in most of the Quays' fantasias, the narrative is oblique and slow moving but the florid visuals are rife with sexual and psychological overtones.

Full Review… | January 5, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The whole movie feels filmed through the wrong end of a stereopticon: stiff, fascinating, riddled with secrets it doesn't care to divulge.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes


A surreal and moody film, full of strange images, and with an even stranger denouement. It is visually impressive, in a dark and low key way rather than a colorful one. The story is a weird tale to be sure and can be maddeningly opaque or ambiguous. Not a film for everyone. Not even for most film buffs. But it did have its appeal and I was not disappointed by it.

utterly Droz (droll & gross). Only sat through it hoping it'd be mysteriously saved in the end. It wasn't.

The Brother's Quay are still my favorite - this film is an alchemy of psychopathology and desire, surrealist and esoteric in intent, and perhaps best fitted into the horror, rather than sci-fi genre. The final Nietzschean scene of eternal return with it's locked, Tantalus-like obsession, reminds that we can never possess more than the moment. For my part, the imp of the absurd drove me nuts and I just wanted out. Bravo anyhow!

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